When you have a headache, it can be hard to think of anything other than the pain you are experiencing. To relieve the headache, however, it is important to pay attention to your symptoms and determine what kind of headache you might have so that you might figure out your best treatment options. There are many kinds of headaches that require different treatments to alleviate. Here we’re going to focus on sinus headaches.
What Is a Sinus Headache?
Sinus headaches usually feel like there is pressure around the front of the head and face, mostly around the sinuses which are located under the eyes, over the eyes, and around the nose. It can literally feel like your head wants to explode.
Primary or Secondary?
Because sinus headaches are usually a symptom of an underlying issue, they are considered secondary headaches.
Sinus headaches are typically caused by the inflammation of sinus passages, often due to an infection or sinusitis. People can get sinus headaches due to allergies and infections.
People that suffer from sinus headaches often complain of pain and pressure in their face, localized around their sinuses. This pain can range from mild to very severe, and can radiate all over the head, usually especially around the eyes. As the sinuses run all over the face including around the mouth, sinus headaches can also cause what feels like toothache.
With sinus headaches, people tend to experience more pain when they move around, and the sinuses can be sensitive to touch. Nasal congestion and discharge, fatigue, and other “cold-like” symptoms can sometimes accompany a sinus headache.
To treat a sinus headache, it is best to treat the underlying cause of the pain. Sometimes a simple decongestant will do the trick, but other times a case of sinusitis or other infection might be the cause, which might require the use of prescribed antibiotics.
Along with treating the underlying cause, over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with the inflammation that causes the majority of the pain. There are also over-the-counter medications that are marketed specifically for the use of sinus headaches that may provide some relief.
How to Choose the Right Treatment
Choosing the right treatment comes down to how severe the sinus headache is and how long it has lasted. For a “simple” sinus headache, you might find quick relief over the counter. For sinus headaches that are long lasting and do not respond to over-the-counter treatments, the underlying condition may require professional attention and a prescription.
When to See a Professional
With sinus headaches that are recurrent or long lasting, you might have an infection or underlying sinusitis. This needs to be treated by a physician. And if you have any fever, nausea, vomiting, or dark-colored discharge, you also should see a doctor.
Prevention of sinus headaches is much like preventing the common cold. Wash your hands often, and consider using a humidifier or other means of keeping your nasal passages clean and moist. Another good prevention tip is to avoid irritants such as smoke, dust, and other allergens.
Sinus headaches can feel pretty severe at times. Treating the underlying cause of the headache is the best way to treat it. In many cases seeing a physician is the best course of action in the event that you might have an infection.